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Paint By The Ocean: The Artwork of Annette Sykes
My artwork connects me to my home. Finally, after having lived in Lynn for 20 years, I have let down my guard and relaxed into my community and am willing to be present enough to say that THIS is my home. It's taken the power of the ocean, the power of people who have been consistent, good friends, and a community of supportive and kind co-workers and neighbors who are in this together with me, making art, teaching kids, and caring about Lynn.
The power of a winter’s storm or the calm, clear day when the water is smooth and glass-like brought me to my easel. I collect treasures from the sea and bring them back to my studio for closer study. Everything is connected to the ocean. I am fascinated by what is in front of my home, whatever the focus I choose. I can go to the beach and look among the rocks or stand on my deck and be mesmerized by the rising sun over the ocean. I am inspired by the sunrise when I open my eyes everyday. I take photos obsessively for reference material for my paintings. The ocean guides me to a meditative space. I feel a similar peace and calmness after I have been painting. Making art is a “Flow” activity as defined by one of my favorite philosophers, “Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In his research on defining Flow, it is that feeling you get when you are doing an activity where time passes and you don’t even notice it. - Think about making art, practicing a sport, painting a room, playing music, creating a computer program…it happens in different ways for different people.
In the last few years I have expanded my subject-matter to include many other views of my adopted hometown. I find myself exploring the various unique views that make up my neighborhood and city. In a Figurative Art Drawing Group that I coordinate at the Galleries At LynnArts, I have also not only made gains in my skills for drawing the human body and portrait, but also have made many friends. Whatever I choose to draw or paint, I still find this flow for which I search, and it washes over me as I enter the process of using my creativity.
When I have spent time making art, I am more able to be calm and handle difficulties and challenges in my life. I am also more patient and make better decisions - similar to the feelings I get when I really stop to experience my ocean sunrises. The flow of the tides, as it ebbs in and out is akin to the manners in which my creative process dictates that I take time to work through the cycles of collecting imagery, putting paint to canvas, reflecting, promoting my work, connecting with other artists - I sometimes am frustrated with these ebbs and flows, worried that I’m not doing enough, but just as the tide knows its course, my creative process continues as it is supposed to ebb and flow.
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